Nadezhda Tolokonnikova

For more than a year, two members of the Moscow punk band Pussy Riot have been serving time in Russian prisons, after a musical protest at a cathedral led them to be sentenced for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.” Last week, we learned of a new Russian amnesty law that would free the musicians, as well as some other high-profile protesters — an act that seems motivated, more than anything else, by the impending Winter Olympics, to be held in Russia, and by the international spotlight that the games will bring. This morning, the two remaining imprisoned members, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, were both freed from prison, and Tolokonnikova has already publicly called her own release out as a publicity stunt.

As The New York Times reports, Tolokonnikova spoke to reporters upon her release, saying that she would’ve preferred to serve out the rest of her sentence: “I think this is an attempt to improve the image of the current government, a little, before the Sochi Olympics — particularly for the Western Europeans But I don’t consider this humane or merciful… This is a lie… We didn’t ask for any pardon. I would have sat here until the end of my sentence because I don’t need mercy from Putin.” That is a tough lady right there.

Many more prisoners stand to be released, thanks to this new amnesty law, but the Times notes that Russian officials made sure to release the most famous prisoners first, which certainly bolsters Tolokonnikova’s claim.

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Comments (1)
  1. For two people who did hard time in a Russian labor camp, one as far out in Siberia, they came out looking flawlessly beautiful in their exit and that is awesome:

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